"I'm just a ghost in this house
I'm shadow upon these walls,
As quietly as a mouse
I haunt these halls."

- Allison Krauss, Ghost in This House

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Tale from Ryan Orvis

King Memorial Cemetery "My fathers house rests in a secluded, thickly wooded area off Mitchells Mill Road in Chardon, Ohio. When my family relocated there in the mid-'70s, my older sister's middle school classmates turned white as a ghost when she told them where our house was.

'You live in Melon Head Country!' they exclaimed. She was then frightened with tales of Dr. Crow, the evil man who had performed cruel experiments on hydrocephalic children to make them into cannibalistic fiends. As I grew older, I discovered that these legends had traveled to nearby parts of Geauga and Lake counties. By then I had heard conflicting locations for Dr. Crow's laboratory and institution.

The legend states that the events occured on Wisner Road near a bridge, but this road is actually split in half due to a washout. One half is in Chardon, one is in Kirtland, and each features a different bridge as a landmark. I also became aware that high school students from Chardon often disguised themselves as Melon Heads to frighten necking teenagers. Despite the passage of several years and my relocation to Los Angeles, I was still haunted by the secrets of the woods in northeast Ohio. After hearing about it I decided to get to the bottom of the Melon Head myth once and for all.

The first step I took was to contact an old family friend who was the oldest resident of Chardon that I knew. She recommended a woman who had several interesting stories to tell. According to her, the real Dr. Crow had studied hydrocephalus (a condition in which children are born with excess fluid in the brain) thirty years ago, at a place called Sumner Cottage near the natural spring on Wisner Road. The cottage burned down in mysterious circumstances. No mention was made of escaped patients with deformities.

Stories tell that Dr. Crow was either killed by his patients or perished in the cottage fire. Another tale has him swinging by the neck from a beam of the Arch Barn on Mitchells Mill in an apparent suicide.


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